Happy New Year! As we look forward to 2019’s paleontology discoveries, let’s also look back upon some of the open access dinosaurs of 2018.
Last year saw nearly forty newly coined non-avian dinosaur taxa–over half (56%) appeared in freely available publications, and more than three-quarters of those freely readable ones were published under fully open access (CC-BY) licenses. Compared to the last time I did one of these reviews (for 2015), there is basically no change in the proportion of new taxa named in free-to-read or open access journals. I’m a bit surprised by this, although I also wonder if similar trends apply to all paleontology papers, or just those naming new dinosaur taxa.
In terms of publication venues, PeerJ is hands-down the dominant presence for new dinosaurian taxa, hosting nearly a third of the freely readable papers (n=7; in the interest of full disclosure, I am a volunteer editor for this journal). The Nature family of journals comes in for second and third place, with three each at Scientific Reports and Nature Communications. Reflecting the expansion of publication venues, journals from China (China Geology and Global Geology) and Brazil (Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências) round out some of the newcomers to the dinosaur taxonomy field. I am encouraged to see a growing multinational presence!
Author-posted PDFs are another common way of making research more readily available. Although it is not true open access (and is even prohibited by many journals), many readers without institutional library access rely upon this method to keep up with the literature. When I did an informal search using Google, I found PDFs for at least nine of the non-OA dinosaur papers (I have not indicated them on the list below, however, due to potential journal restrictions). Thus, the papers describing nearly 80 percent of last year’s new dinosaur species can be easily read by most people with an internet connection.
In any case, those are the trends for 2018. As the face of open access continues to change, I expect that we’ll have much more to report in another year!
|Dryosaurus elderae||Yes||No||Geology of the Intermountain West|
|Maraapunisaurus||Yes||No||Geology of the Intermountain West|
|Baalsaurus||Yes||Yes||Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências|
|Laiyangosaurus||Yes||Yes||Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências|
|Lavocatisaurus||Yes||Yes||Acta Palaeontologica Polonica|
Image in header from Xu et al., 2018.